In 2018, I was given the honour of being appointed managing director of Lorien. As the new managing director in the beginning of a new year, I’m conscious that there is a silent expectation for me – a sort of unwritten rule – to evoke change, put my stamp on the place, kick the year off with some radical action that will shape the way our business runs in the future. So, what’s it going to be? Free puppies for all? Chain my best recruiters to the desk? Maybe keep it low key – a new toaster and some fresh paint for the office?
Actually, my first ‘change’ will be remarkably simple – in fact, it won’t really be a change at all. You see, when I became managing director I started thinking to myself: what could we do better? My conclusion was that actually, we shouldn’t change anything – not immediately, anyway. Don’t fix what isn’t broken, as they say. Instead, we should be building on top of our values, enhancing what we already do so well. And for me, there was one overriding quality about our business: we put people first. That’s when I created Ask David.
Ask David is all about resolving problems quickly, helpfully and at the source. It’s about pushing ourselves to deliver exceptional service and for me, that starts with a friendly face and an honest voice. As a concept, it’s simple: if you’re a current contractor with us, then whatever your question, concern or request, send it through to me, and I promise to respond directly in 24 hours. If I can’t resolve it myself, I’ll put you in touch with someone who can. I’ve been in the recruitment industry for twenty years now and my scope of experience is pretty broad, so I’d like to think that most questions I can help with!
I understand it’s a little unorthodox to have your managing director on the frontline. I think my sanity was put into question when I raised it as my first objective with the senior leadership team, truth be told. The fact of the matter is though, that I got into recruitment because I’m a people person and for me, this is just an extension of how I think a people-based business should run. I believe in doing things well, doing them honestly and always treating others as you’d like to be treated, including helping out wherever you can. For me, working with candidates to get their dream jobs, or supporting contractors to get the most out of their role, is what makes it all worthwhile. Even now, I’ll help out consultants with their candidate or contractor queries to make sure that everyone that we work with gets the attention and service they deserve – I’ve spoken to several contractors directly in the last month alone. And for me, speaking to our contractors – the people that are the lifeblood of our business – shouldn’t need to be a special occasion. I also saw no reason to gate myself off from them; in fact, as a managing director I firmly believe I should be on the frontline as much as anyone else. Ask David, therefore is exactly the sort of action that speaks volumes about the sort of company we are and want to be – one that will face the difficult questions head on and at the highest level, together. #oneteamonedream
I also think Ask David really complements what we’re already doing. I’m proud to say that Lorien has a very people-centric culture, with dedicated teams to manage the candidate journey and handle every imaginable contractor query – from timesheeting and expenses to single support for new contractors. We’re already very good at building relationships with our networks; many of our consultants boast long term relationships with their candidates who they work hard to find work for month after month, year after year. We keep in touch throughout assignments and horizon scan for upcoming opportunities so we’re always prepared for when a contractor is ready for a fresh start. We also keep in touch with our permanent candidates, who we often bump into at industry events and meet-ups. Similarly, our candidates are only matched to clients where we believe there’s a genuine cultural as well as skills fit and where they’ll have a real opportunity to build the sort of career they’re after. Our service is based entirely around trust and the relationships we cultivate.
I hope Ask David gives our contractors some additional faith in our services and trust in us as people as well as a business. For them, it means an exceptional service that puts their needs at the top of the priority list. It also means an even more transparent and engaging way of getting the services they need – instead of investing in number-crunching tech, we’ll be enhancing the human side of our business. I believe that this means that our contractors will get straightforward answers quickly and honestly, resulting in greater satisfaction and a happier workforce (which, for our clients, means greater retention of top quality contractors).
So here’s my first promise of 2018. A commitment to not just provoke change for the sake of it, but to look at what we’ve done and ask what could be done better? To keep what we know works well – our people-centric approach – and reinvent how we look at it. We’re going to start out with the end in mind by understanding what we’re doing well for now and thinking about where we want to be in the future. A year of change does not have to mean a year of upheaval, but rather a year of reflection and refinement. Let’s stay agile. And once we’ve got all that sorted, I’ll get onto those puppies.
Find out more about Ask David here.